UK to send more multiple-launch rocket weapons to Ukraine as Putin's assault continues

Announcing the news, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war"

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The UK will send more weapons to Ukraine to help it defend against Russia’s invasion, the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace announced that more multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) will be sent to the eastern European nation, as well as precision guided M31A1 missiles which can strike targets up to 50 miles away, designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.

Mr Wallace said: “This latest tranche of military support will enable the armed forces of Ukraine to continue to defend against Russian aggression and the indiscriminate use of long-range artillery.

“Our continued support sends a very clear message: Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, providing defensive military aid to Ukraine to help them defend against Putin’s invasion.”

Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) firing at Kirkcudbright Ranges
Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) firing at Kirkcudbright Ranges
Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace

Ukrainian troops have been trained in the UK on how to use the launchers, and the UK has also committed to training 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in infantry battlefield skills over the coming months.

Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands have all announced they will be supporting the programme.

The Defence Secretary will co-host the Copenhagen Conference for Northern European Defence Allies of Ukraine on Thursday, to discuss long-term support for Ukraine on training, equipment, and funding.

The UK has previously supplied Ukraine with various weapons, including the NLAW anti-tank missile launcher, which was considered instrumental in the initial defence against Moscow’s invasion.

On Wednesday, Mr Wallace said it was “clear” that explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea were not caused by “someone dropping a cigarette”, as he dismissed Moscow’s “excuses” for the blasts.

It came amid speculation that the massive fireballs, which killed one person and wounded several more, were the result of a Ukrainian attack.

Mr Wallace said he believes anyone’s “manual of war” would deem the site on the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, a “legitimate target” for Ukraine to strike.

Ukraine’s air force has claimed nine Russian jets were destroyed in the blasts on Tuesday, although the country’s officials have stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility.

Moscow, meanwhile, has denied any aircraft were damaged, or that an attack took place.